Deceptions within Today's body of Christ
Within the body of Christ today an alarming and critical fact for these End Times is Jesus' own repeated warning that even true believers themselves could potentially be misled. He foretold of this scenario as arising through the centuries and into the End Times saying that, '....false Christs and false prophets will arise....so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.' [Math.24:24]. About 30 years after Christ, the Apostle Paul reiterated [as did other New Testament writers] this vital forewarning stating that in the last generation 'many will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.' [1 Tim. 4:1].
Across America today there are many deceitful spirits [persons] and deceitful mindsets of which America's populace is readily 'paying attention to' within our backslidden and undiscerning society. Even public persons [ie. celebrities, politicians, sports figures, religious leaders, etc.] who demonstrate or are exposed in the most blatant cases of anti-scriptural beliefs and behavior [like racism, homosexuality, alcoholism, outbursts of anger, cursing, adultery, fornication, criminal behavior, drug usage, etc.] are typically still regarded by many as being 'Christian' if that person professes himself as one.
Many Americans today are quick and bold to announce themselves as 'Christian' and also quick to accept others as 'Christian' yet their unChristlike speech and behavior bring a mockery to Christianity and a reproach upon the Lord. This must be stated in order to help sharpen discernment and bring alertness within today's End Time body of Christ.
Yet, scriptures are clear that 'believing' in Jesus is only the 'starting point' of submitting to the guidelines of growing into a disciple of Christ. Scripturally, there is a huge difference in being just a first-base 'believer' in Jesus versus becoming a true 'disciple' of Christ. [John 13:34,35]. Jesus' own parables describe believers who fell away and back into the deceitfulness of riches and the world's ways, having no root in Christ. [Math. 13:21,22].
But, in today's deceptive times, it is imperative for true believers to prove their Christlikeness as a mature 'disciple' of Christ and to maintain their testimony which exalts Christ. [John 13:34,35; Rev.6:9]. Unfortunately, many believers have the testimony of truly recognizing Jesus as their Savior yet they continued right on serving themselves and walking in their worldly behavior and deeds of the flesh. This kind of testimony brings no glory to God and, in fact, mocks Christ.
However, the New Testament is loaded with black and white principles which profile a true follower of Christ like: '....the one who says he abides in Jesus ought himself to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked.' [1John 2:6]. Conversely, Jesus said, 'Why do you call Me "Lord" and do not the things which I say?' . [Luke 6:46].
A recent example of America's body of believers 'paying attention to deceitful spirits' was exemplified when 30 million USA evangelicals were completely fooled by their elected and highly celebrated President and mega-church Pastor who was exposed and soon admitted to being homosexual. Also highly alarming is that none of his other Christian ministerial associates and leaders who are called to watch over God's children discerned the deceitful spirit of deceptiveness nor the homosexual spirit in the man. In fact, the Pastor was exposed by his homosexual partner to the shock of the Pastor's associates and followers. This is a serious and loud statement about the lack of discernment within the body of Christ and its ministers today in America.
Many other religious hucksters can also be seen today on the Christian TV airwaves daily as those who are identical to Simon in the book of Acts. He was one who truly 'believed' and then was water 'baptized' yet the Apostle Peter came along later and confronted and exposed him as one in need of repentance from 'wickedness, the gall of bitterness and the bondage of iniquity'. [Acts 8:13, 21-23].
This profile of 'believer' is also prevalent across America in persons and even ministers who 'believe' in Jesus and may also have been 'baptized' . Yet, they mostly remain in the world and in the deeds of their flesh and bring mockery to Christ and Christianity, even being stumbling blocks to others who truly seek Christ.
An even more extreme example of a deceitful profile seen today within the body of Christ parallels the woman who was in the midst of the great Apostle Paul's ministry. As she stood up 'for many days' amongst the body of Christ delivering an accurate prophecy then most assuredly the witnessing believers probably gave her much favor and respect, thinking of her as a wonderful Christian.
How shocked must they have been when Paul's discernment was that she was no Christian at all, but that she was demon-possessed? He turned to the deceitful woman and cast the evil spirit out of her. [Acts 16:17,18]. This exact scenario is occurring today across America as various popular and internationally known TV ministers [men and women] can be seen standing in the forefront of God's people and receiving great applause and respect as 'Christian' leaders, yet they have evil and deceitful spirits.
As stressed, scriptures have foretold of these great deceptions for today's End Times. However, Spirit-filled believers who are keenly operating in the solution which is 'handling accurately the word of truth' and 'having our senses trained to discern good and evil' will not be 'misled' in these deceptive days ahead. [2 Timothy 2:15; Heb.5:14].